Reshaping the Domestic Nexus is a project bringing together academics from leading research groups with policy partners in BEIS, DEFRA, FSA and Waterwise. The researchers are from research groups which have been at the forefront of new ways of understanding how householders’ routine activities end up demanding resources, including of energy, food and water. This project’s purpose is to make that understanding useful for informing actual policy processes with our policy partners.

The project is being led by Matt Watson at the University of Sheffield, with Liz Sharp, also at the University of Sheffield, and Ali Browne and David Evans, both at the University of Manchester. It is funded by the ESRC Nexus Network

The concept of the nexus of water, energy and food has increasing traction in research and policy, confronting the interdependencies between these fundamental resources. Most work in this field focuses on the supply of these resources. Reshaping the Domestic Nexus starts from concern with how demand for these resources and their associated service infrastructures are constituted with a focus on everyday practices happening in domestic kitchens

There is growing awareness that we need different new ideas for tackling issues like resource consumption. Practice theory is one field that is generating new ideas. It informs a large and growing field of empirical research generating distinctive ideas and evidence in relation to resource consumption in the home. This project will build on the research teams’ existing activity in bringing practice theory research into dialogue with policy makers and other stakeholders, to enable a step change in the effectiveness with which practice research can inform the increased effectiveness of policy and intervention.

Reshaping the domestic nexus builds upon a previous (2015)  ESRC-funded network, which extended the Nexus concept to examine the dynamics of consumption at the domestic (household) scale. We explored this field through a series of workshops, taking place in Sheffield, Manchester and London, which were the core of a project led by Matt Watson with Peter Jackson and Liz Sharp at the University of Sheffield, and Dale Southerton, David Evans, Alan Warde and Ali Browne at the University of Manchester. It was funded by the ESRC Nexus Network. The workshops series showed that there is an array of existing knowledge that can inform understanding WEF service demand as emergent from social practices. The workshops also worked through the promising affinities and synergies between practice research and the emphasis of nexus thinking on interdependencies and relationships, across scales.



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